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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
Let me start off by saying I have absolutely NO experience in prop making of any kind. So, I decided to start with a simple witch. I made a mache head and started to build her some features with mache pulp, but I couldn't get it to smooth out and didn't like how rough it was. I bought some crayola natural air drying clay and covered her face with it and was really happy with how it looked when i was done. The next morning however her face was cracked and falling apart into 500 pieces :mad: and every time I tap it more falls off. I ended up chipping the rest off with a screw driver. most of the underneath is ok apart from a few stab marks, my bad. :eek:

What type of clay should I have used or can anyone offer a review of different clays for a noob? I also have some das air hardening modeling clay but i'm reluctant to use it incase it does the same thing. Or should I scrap the air drying clay all together?? Thanks
 

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Hello,
Let me start off by saying I have absolutely NO experience in prop making of any kind. So, I decided to start with a simple witch. I made a mache head and started to build her some features with mache pulp, but I couldn't get it to smooth out and didn't like how rough it was. I bought some crayola natural air drying clay and covered her face with it and was really happy with how it looked when i was done. The next morning however her face was cracked and falling apart into 500 pieces :mad: and every time I tap it more falls off. I ended up chipping the rest off with a screw driver. most of the underneath is ok apart from a few stab marks, my bad. :eek:

What type of clay should I have used or can anyone offer a review of different clays for a noob? I also have some das air hardening modeling clay but i'm reluctant to use it incase it does the same thing. Or should I scrap the air drying clay all together?? Thanks
Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm among those that have been burned by the crayola air dry clay as well, so I feel your pain.

Das will do the trick, rest assured. It's a little hard to form but it should go on just fine and not fall into a million pieces.

Back to the paper mache pulp, however, I've found that if you let it MOSTLY dry, then take a sponge to it, it's easier to get it the finish you're looking for.
 

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Master of Disaster
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I've used the method you describe many times. I'm not sure why the model magic would fall off as it usually adheres quite well (especially on a rough surface where there is plenty of opportunity for 'grabbing')

Did you apply the model magic in small (~ quarter size-ish), flatten and press onto the base coat? I'm just thinking that if the model magic is laid on top (like a sheet), then I could see it breaking up and falling off.

When I apply model magic I use small amounts pressed firmly onto the under coat and it sticks like mad. I also use water on my finger tips to smooth the mm surface and blend edges together. Moistening the mm also makes it more tacky.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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There are alot of people here with great advice, so you came to the right place!

I do mache, and I actually like rough features and skin on monsters.
Same here. I've never tried it but I think you can sand the pulp mache.
 

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Paper clay (store bought) will adhere to mache and dry smooth as well. You can also add joint compound to pulp mache and get a smoother, less bumpy texture. When I do this, I make the mache so it's like clay (it sticks together like cookie dough, vs being just sticky like frosting) -- it's easier to work with.

After you put it on your piece, you can brush on a layer of your paste, lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface, and it smooth through the plastic wrap, section by section. If that doesn't work and you still want it super, super smooth ... spread a very thin layer of joint compound over the piece. Let it dry a bit -- in front of a fan maybe 15-30min. Then take a slightly damp sponge and wipe away the texture. The dampness will re-wet the joint compound enough to smooth it, but not enough to strip it off.
 

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I've used the method you describe many times. I'm not sure why the model magic would fall off as it usually adheres quite well (especially on a rough surface where there is plenty of opportunity for 'grabbing')

Did you apply the model magic in small (~ quarter size-ish), flatten and press onto the base coat? I'm just thinking that if the model magic is laid on top (like a sheet), then I could see it breaking up and falling off.

When I apply model magic I use small amounts pressed firmly onto the under coat and it sticks like mad. I also use water on my finger tips to smooth the mm surface and blend edges together. Moistening the mm also makes it more tacky.
Not the model magic, the patently awful air dry clay that comes in a tub.
 

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If you want it to dry or be bake-able use Das or Skulpy*sic* but if you want to make a mold and then cast the final product get yourself some White clay. It's the best for modeling and you can remoisten it to an extent untill it's fired in a kiln. (you will not be firing your clay so don't panic) There are some great tutorials on here about model making and mold making. Stiltbeast has a great set of Youtube video's as well. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow! Thanks for all the great advice and tips everyone! I will try the das :)

Hollow- I have seen Stolloween, he's a rockstar. That's how I started with the mache, but I think I will try one of the other sites you posted up now that had the homemade polymer clay, looks fun!

UnOrthodOx- Thanks for the tip about sponging the mache pulp down as it dries, I did not think to try that.

DoctorGrim- IDK if it was "model magic".... Is it the same? Mine's just a round yellow tub by crayola it says air dry clay, natural & no baking. I did add little bits at a time, but maybe I didn't press it in firm enough or put enough on?? I didn't wet it down either, maybe that would help if I ever try it again.

RCIAG- I will definately try sanding the next time I use it when I want it smoother

bmaskmaker- I made it myself with a tutorial I found on the forum somewhere. Is there a big difference between the homemade pulp and store bought? Mine ended up being more cookie like than frosting. Thanks for the tips about plastic and joint compound!

Patrick- the bakable clay you're talking about, does it have to be fired in a kiln or is it one of those that can get away with being baked in a really hot in a household oven?
 

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Justin, the Sculpy can be oven baked at 375-425* I'm not sure of the temp range but yes... in a household oven.
 

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DAS and Creative Paperclay are good store bought clays, but the cost can add up quick in large quantities. If you really think you "need" to use one of those clays, I would use them as a final layer. That way you can cut down on the amount you have to purchase. Another good homemade paper clay to use is Jonni Clay. This is a clay used by a paper mache artist named Jonni Goode.

She shows you how to make the clay in this video:

This is a very good clay. I've used it in molds to create all kinds of props. I created over 50 small mini skulls from a silicone mold that I used on my Wife's new tombstone she was building, and created numerous skulls and masks. All made from nothing more than this clay.

Here is a video of two items I cast last year:

 

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Master of Disaster
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DoctorGrim- IDK if it was "model magic".... Is it the same? Mine's just a round yellow tub by crayola it says air dry clay, natural & no baking. I did add little bits at a time, but maybe I didn't press it in firm enough or put enough on?? I didn't wet it down either, maybe that would help if I ever try it again.
I think I know the product your describing. I haven't used it though.

Model Magic is interesting, you should check out some of the amazing pieces created by jollygorilla using model magic, it's inspiring.
 

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What is the best clay to use for making a prop head mold???
If you can get your hands on it, Ovencraft clay (at one time was sold at Michaels, but no longer) is a cheap and easy clay to work with and can be fired in the oven. (Polymer clays (ie sculpey) can get expensive for larger items)
 

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DoctorGrim- IDK if it was "model magic".... Is it the same? Mine's just a round yellow tub by crayola it says air dry clay, natural & no baking. I did add little bits at a time, but maybe I didn't press it in firm enough or put enough on?? I didn't wet it down either, maybe that would help if I ever try it again.

No you didn't use Model magic (which usually comes in little baggies.) Whatever you do, do not use the air dry clay again, I've yet to hear anyone that's had a good experience with it.

Model magic is light and extremely easy to work with, but can crack while drying. Usually the cracks are small can can be filled in/repaired with some quality white glue. You may want to give it a go, it does have a lot of positives going for it.
 
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